Teddy Bear Day Care – Ypsilanti

Teddy Bear Day Care and Learning Center

Consistency & effective discipline

by Leslie - March 28th, 2013.
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Yesterday we talked about the importance of being overly clear when giving our children directions and placing expectations on them. The next component of effective discipline is consistency.

Discipline is consistency. When we have the same expectations from day-to-day, we are providing our children with an orderly world which they can easily understand. It’s impossible for children to learn rules and expectations when they are only enforced some of the time. Likewise, when we deliver consistent consequences, it is much easier to modify less than desirable behaviors.

Whatever you say, though, make sure it’s something you can and will follow through on. Kids learn very quickly if we are spitting out false threats. And when we don’t follow through, we lose their respect (which is key in teaching discipline). Now there are going to be times when you tell your child something out of anger, “If you don’t pick up your toys, I’m going to give them away to a child who will!” Many of you will likely not follow through with this. So it’s key to come back and say, “I’m sorry. I was very angry when I said that I was going to give away all of your toys. What I am going to do is pick them up and put them in a box for a couple of days. When you show me that you have learned responsibility, then you will earn your toys back, one-by-one.” Always come back with what you know you can, and will, do.

When negative behavior is not consistently discouraged, it only becomes harder to change. It’s significantly easier to establish healthy habits and routines at a young age, than it is at an older age. If your three-year old is throwing a fit in the grocery store because he wants a piece of candy, and you give in to get him to stop…guess what you just taught him? When he’s sixteen-years old and doesn’t get his way, what do you think he’ll do? That sixteen-year old fit is going to be way uglier and destructive than the three-year old fit. But here’s the cool part, it’s a lot easier to modify that behavior at three than at sixteen. That, alone, should be motivation to break the habits now.

There’s another really important aspect to consistency, and I could write a whole book on this topic. We’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That village, they all need to be on the same page. If your villagers have different expectations and consequences, your child won’t be able to learn any of them. Remember that document I posted on yesterday’s post? That’s a great tool to help keep your village consistent. I even recommend posting a version of it in homes, and having it go with your child when they visit grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc.

Finally, here’s the great part about consistency. If you stick to it now, you’ll eventually be able to back off a bit. Hopefully by the time kids hit nine- or ten-years old, they will have made our consistent preaching their habits. Once they have habitualized our expectations, we get to have really neat dialogue with them. Which is exactly what we’ll talk about tomorrow!

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